Current Affairs

UMNO Leader Calls For Tourism Minister’s Firing For Naming Bak Kut Teh As National Heritage Dish

He slammed Tiong for failing to consider local sensitivities.
Last week, the Tourism Department released a list of local dishes that were given the coveted opportunity to be named as national heritage dishes, with bak kut teh being one of them.

Aside from bak kut teh, nine other foods were named as national heritage dishes such as burasak, mee kolok, nasi ambeng, dodol kukus, kuih lapis, kuih karas, uthappam, jeruk tuhau and air kathira.

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However, not all are exactly happy with the list, with one vocal critic publicly calling for the sacking of Tourism Minister Tiong King Sing over the listing.

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Bak kut teh
For illustration purposes only. Photo by WeirdKaya

‘Should be fired over bak kut teh as national heritage dish’

In a Facebook post written by UMNO Youth chief Akmal Saleh today, he urged Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to hold Tiong responsible and sack him for his role in letting bak kut teh become a national heritage dish.

If the minister cannot think about the sensitivities of the Malaysian people and what is relevant in making decisions, it is time for us to request that PMX Anwar Ibrahim fire the minister.

Umno youth chief akmal saleh
Photo via FB/Akmal Saleh

“Instead of recognizing bak kut teh as a national heritage dish, it is better to recognize Chinese fried rice and many other foods that can be eaten by everyone in this country regardless of race or religion,” he wrote.

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Akmal also took a swipe at Tiong demoting Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) director-general Datuk Ammar Abd Ghapar, saying that he should be shown the door as well for performing poorly.

“If the director-general can be demoted due to declining performance, the same reason can be used for a minister who’s not only declining but is the worst in history,” he added.

Last Friday (Feb 23), there were rumours that Ammar was fired by Tiong, However, the latter came out to clarify that Ammar wasn’t fired but demoted for failing to increase the number of tourists into Malaysia.

Controversy surrounding bak kut teh

The uproar over bak kut teh isn’t something new and has ruffled feathers ever since it was mooted to be named as a national heritage dish to prevent other countries from claiming it as their own.

Back in June 2023, Tebrau MP Jimmy Puah suggested that bak kut teh be listed as a national heritage dish but was met with fierce opposition by Langkawi MP Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah, who argued that it wasn’t one of 30 most popular local dishes in Malaysia.

Read more about it here:

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